Utah at Washington State
Tipoff: 7 tonight, Beasley Coliseum, Pullman
Watch: Pac-12 Network
Records: Utah 13-1 overall, 2-1 Pac-12; WSU 6-8 overall, 1-2 Pac-12
Players: WSU was trounced by one of the nation’s best in Oregon, but the Cougs managed to get a few good looks — Alexys Swedlund, the program’s all-time leader in 3s, catapulted herself into the 1,000-point club. She’s only the 19th ever to do it. And it’s difficult to mention WSU women’s basketball without bringing up all-conference forward Borislava Hristova, who’s No. 7 in the nation in scoring (22.5 points per game). Disciplined offense was among coach Kamie Ethridge’s key principles, and the Cougars are adhering. They’re 37th nationally in shooting percentage at 44.5. On the other side, the Utes have already snagged seven conference player of the week accolades (six freshman of the week awards and one player of the week). Utah is keen on the trigger too — it’s 10th nationally in field-goal percentage (47.9) and 11th from deep (38.8). The Utes do it while scoring 78 points per game. That well-rounded offense makes Utah tick.
Game themes: Apparently, the top-25 voters are dead asleep on Utah. Maybe it’s because the Utes were picked to finish eighth by coaches in the preseason polls, or maybe everyone literally fell asleep while reading an alphabetical list of teams, and couldn’t make it to “U.” Utah’s dominated the likes of Alabama, Nevada, BYU, Florida and Arizona, yet only has two points in the latest AP poll. At this rate, the Utes must prove it every night. And for the Cougs, who haven’t been home since Dec. 1, well, they just have to show improvements. Limiting Utah’s precision offense to under 78 points could bode well.